Where to Campaign and Why

By Seema Chandwani

Elections can be complicated as each one has a different formula, for example if we made up a London constituency, let’s call it Marmite South. Marmite South has a Labour MP who won with 35,000 votes. For the London Mayoral election, Marmite South is considered a ‘key-seat’ because Sadiq Khan will need as many votes across London as possible and Marmite has 35,000 Labour voters.

But for a General Election we need to get as many seats (MPs) as possible to have a majority in Parliament to form a government. With Marmite South having a majority of 24,000, it’s safe to say that we will have a Labour MP on December 13th. (A majority is how many more votes the winning candidate had, compared to the second highest voted candidate).

So if Labour are to have a majority of MPs in Parliament we need to firstly get more MPs and secondly prevent losing any. Seats where we nearly won or won but only just, are called ‘marginals’.

Where are the seats we need to win?

There are around 100 seats where the Labour came second and missed gaining the seat by under 8,000 votes. Some like Southampton Itchen, we only missed by 31 votes! There are more people at my bus-stop then 31!

You can find a list of all Labour marginals here.

Where are the seats Labour need to defend?

These are known as defender seats, it is likely the Tories and Lib Dems will be focusing on these to win back. There are roughly about 60 seats where our majority is under 5,000. Some like Kensington only have a majority of 20 votes.

You can find a list of Labour defender seats here.

During elections, we have to be honest with ourselves, there are some seats we will never win because the majority is too large. There are also some seats that could afford releasing some members to go to seats we can win or defend.

Previous elections to target resources is not an exact science, there are of course local variables such as a high profile opposition candidate or a special issue. But, in the main it is normally a good strategy to defend and increase in marginal seats.

Use your time wisely.